Minutes from the congregational meeting in Immanuel church 20 November 2016

Encl mentioned in the minutes are not at the website.

Present: about 50 members

§ 1 Welcome

Chairman Marco Helles welcomed everyone and prayed for the meeting.

§ 2 Opening of the meeting

The chairman declared the meeting open.

§ 3 Election of verifiers

Mark Tatlow and Göran Johansson were elected to verify the minutes.

§ 4 Approval of the agenda

Two contributions were made to the “Any other business” point on the agenda: 1) the volunteer group in charge of minor renovations; as well as 2) a proposal for a language café. After this, the agenda was approved.

§ 5 Information about the meeting between the Board and the Councils on 12 November, see enclosure 1

Stephen James started by thanking everyone for their prayers for the meeting between the Board and the Councils on 12 November. It was the first time that the Board and Councils met in this way and they had a blessed and very positive time together. Out of 40 people invited, 34 were able to attend.

They spent the morning getting to know each other. The Councils had also been asked to prepare and share what they were looking forward to, what possibilities they saw and found exciting. Stephen used images to illustrate what was shared. Some of the keywords that day were: Jesus Christ, glory to God and spirituality.

The goal of the afternoon was to start working on the operational plan, described as “short-term operational goals to meet a long-term vision”. The conversation also focused on where they wanted Immanuel Church to be in five years. An image that was used was a bridge of the community of fellowship groups, supported by three pillars; diaconal work, children & youth, and development of leaders & volunteers.

They spoke of discipleship and the importance of bible studies, prayer, spirituality in the church, local cell groups, mentorship, host families, young adults and to give young people and genuine sense that their lives matter and have a purpose.

In the near future, they would like to see that our premises are used in such a way, that it can impact people’s lives. This could happen through a number of outreach ministries that meet the needs of different groups in society that either already come here or live in our close proximity, such as single parents and seniors.

Stephen concluded by saying that they also discussed the importance of defining what Immanuel Church should not be doing. Wisdom and clarity are needed to set the right priorities.

§ 6 Timeline for an operational plan / workshop at the congregational meeting

Ulla Marie reported on the Board´s goal to include more people and all ages in the process of defining an operational plan. The plan is thought to guide us for several years. She reminded us that it is the first time that an operational plan is made by and decided on by the whole congregation. Therefore, we need to be gracious toward one another in the process. We will have to try different things and see what kind of process works best for our church.

She presented a timeline on which the congregational meeting on 22 January is planned as a forum where the whole congregation can work on the operational plan together. Members will be able to give their input by visiting tables representing different elements in the plan. After the meeting, the work will be continued in the different groups of the church. The Board will summarise the findings of these groups so that a draft operational plan can be presented at the congregational meeting on 19 March.

It is important that the entire congregation takes part in making these decisions that will determine the direction of our ministry, based on the four priorities of the church; children & youth, people in vulnerable life situations, leadership development and increased fellowship between the fellowship groups.

The matter was opened to the floor and some noted that there is a low representation of the members of the congregation as well as age at the congregational meetings, which means that the meetings are not representative. The Board was admonished to take this very seriously. Everyone was encouraged to take their responsibility and to bring with them other members to the meetings. Someone also mentioned that the way in which the meetings are conducted are out of date and needs to be revised.

§ 7 Decision regarding Immanuel church´ organisational structure, enclosure 2 and 3

The Chairman presented a summary of the document on the organisational structure. At the Annual meeting in 2015, the foundational structure in the document was approved. The Board was asked to clarify and add a few things, such as showing the “term of office” for Council members as well as the democratic election process for the Councils.

The modified proposal has been made available to the congregation beforehand via the website. See enclosure 2 for the full version of the organisational structure as well as enclosure 3 for the presentation of the Chairman.

Some changes had been proposed before the congregational meeting and three of them were included in the final draft:

• That one does not need to be a member to be able to take part in supporting committees.

• That the chairman of the committees shall be elected by the congregation and not by the committee itself.

• To clarify that it is the congregation that decides about employing pastors and deacons.

The matter was opened to the floor.

No further proposals for revision were made. Those who commented were positive toward the revised draft, believed that the board had done good work and that the new structure is a big step forward.

The congregation decided to approve the Board´s revised proposal for an organisational structure, including the three changes listed above.

§ 8 Church fees, information about the result of the campaign

Ulla Marie Gunner informed the congregation that the campaign encouraging members to sign up to have a fixed percentage of their tax fees be allocated to Immanuel Church, resulted in 130 people signing up for this, which is a gratifying result. Now, 505 out of 1.400 church members have signed up to allocate their church fees to Immanuel Church.

Someone found that it was unsuitable to include a form in the mailing that would cancel membership in the Church of Sweden.

§ 9 Any other business

1. Rune Larsson informed the meeting of the volunteer group called “kyrkobräderna” and the need to revitalise the group by complementing with younger members. This group does minor renovations and produces new furniture / interior for the church, commissioned by the janitors. Some also take care of the archive. This is an important work for the church and Rune encouraged everyone to think about new people that could join the group – both men and women are welcome.

Someone asked how we could become better at informing the church about the different volunteer groups and the need for new members. We also need to become better at valuing and thanking those who work in the different group that support our ministries.

2. George Mengo proposed that the congregation should start a language café in the new church square.This would include help with practising the language as well as assistance with homework. The proposal was received positively and will be included in discussions on the operational plan.

§ 10 Conclusion

Ulla Marie Gunner ended the meeting with prayer and the Chairman declared the meeting closed

Secretary: Cathrin Sjöström

Minutes approved by: Marco Helles, Göran Johansson and Mark Tatlow